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Tattoo studio boss ‘cried for an hour’ after being given go-ahead to reopen

PUBLISHED: 12:57 10 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:57 10 July 2020

Aaron Clarke (inset) manages Monumental Ink in Ipswich and Colchester Picture: ARCHANT/HAYLEY FEARNLEY

Aaron Clarke (inset) manages Monumental Ink in Ipswich and Colchester Picture: ARCHANT/HAYLEY FEARNLEY

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A tattoo artist who manages studios in Ipswich and Colchester said he ‘cried for an hour’ after hearing the government were allowing the industry to reopen next week.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said tattoo studios could reopen on July 13 (file photo) Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTOCulture Secretary Oliver Dowden said tattoo studios could reopen on July 13 (file photo) Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

Speaking in a government briefing on Thursday, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said tattoo studios in England would be able to reopen on Monday after being closed for nearly four months.

The news has delighted Monumental Ink founder Aaron Clarke, who said he was overcome with emotion upon hearing the news.

Monumental Ink originally opened in Colchester’s Peartree Business Centre in 2012 and opened a sister studio near Ipswich Waterfront in February this year.

However, both studios were forced to close when the lockdown was introduced on March 23.

Mr Clarke said he was hoping to receive the go-ahead to reopen his businesses on July 4 along with pubs, restaurants and hairdressers - but the government opted to keep tattoo studios closed.

Despite the delay, Mr Clarke said he was delighted to be able to open and is confident he can keep visitors safe.

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Like all newly-reopened businesses, studios will be required to ensure measures are in place to minimise the risk of spreading Covid-19.

Mr Clarke said tattoo studios already place a huge emphasis on hygiene and typically have a low footfall, with artists working with only a handful of different people each day.

He has not yet given a definitive reopening date for his studios, but hopes to begin tattooing from the end of next week.

Mr Clarke said: “When I heard the news I probably cried for about an hour. I wasn’t expecting all this emotion.

MORE: New tattoo studio promises fresh approach to art form ahead of opening date

“It is a massive sigh of relief. We have clients waiting to get back in, but we have to be Covid-ready.

“PPE is a concern, especially as it seems like there is a lot of profiteering going on.

“Our artists have found it really hard over the last few months. They’ve not been earning as much as they would do normally.

“We have invested a lot of money into opening the new Ipswich studio. But the Ipswich community has filled me with a lot of hope.

“It has been difficult financially for all of us - but we will bounce back.”


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